Hyderabad: The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) put up a huge show of strength on Sunday ahead of likely declaration of early assembly polls with its workers converging in lakhs at a rally on the outskirts of the city on call of state Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao to signal their preparation for the elections.
Rao’s cut outs dotted the rally ‘Pragati Nivedana Sabha’ spread over 500 acres with another 1500 acres was reserved for parking.
Pink, the colour of TRS flag, was the flavour of the day with many women wearing pink sarees. Some party loyalists had painted their vehicles pink.
The massive mobilisation included over 12,000 tractors, 15,000 buses including those belonging to schools and state roadways, 30,000 cars and jeeps besides other vehicles from all parts of the state decked with party posters and flags.
There were Rao’s cut outs, billboards and posters along the roads from Hyderabad to the venue of rally at Kongara Kalan in Ranga Reddy district.
Telangana folk songs, linked to the agitation for creation of separate state, were sung from stage and some women in the crowd danced to express their joy.
The rally was billed as the largest in the country and some TRS leaders estimated that over 12 lakh people were present and about two lakh stuck on the roads. The party leaders were expecting 25 lakh people to attend the rally.
Besides being a show of strength for the assembly polls, the rally is being seen as an effort by Rao to project his presence on the national political stage for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Rao is keen to forge a federal front of non-BJP, non-Congress parties and play a pivotal role in government formation after the 2019 elections.
TRS leadership appears keen that the assembly polls are held by December along with elections to four other states as it would give it time to strategise for Lok Sabha polls.
The term of assembly ends in June and elections in normal course will be held along with next year’s general elections.
Party leaders feel that the opposition Congress is not adequately prepared for an early election and the holding the election in November-December will keep the narrative firmly on the development work done by KCR government.
If assembly polls are held with Lok Sabha polls, the narrative may also be impacted with national issues.
Party leaders talked of the work done by the government in the last over four years after formation of Telangana following bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Pamphlets highlighting the work of the government were distributed among the people present at the rally.
The party had made huge logistic arrangements for the rally including food and water for lakhs of people who came.
The rally caused severe traffic disruptions around with people stuck for hours on the roads.